Social Media

How You Can Appear Offline on Facebook and Messenger

Dan Price Updated 30-10-2018

Facebook Messenger is no longer a just a way for you to share a few jokes with your friend. Depending on the platform you’re using, it can read your SMS messages, make voice calls, and even make video calls.


If it’s all become too much and you’re fed up with being pestered every day, you might want to take a temporary break from Facebook. In other words, it’s time to go invisible and appear offline on Facebook.

But how? With so many versions of the app, it’s easier said than done. In this article, we’re going to show you how to appear offline on Facebook on some of the most popular operating systems.

Appear Offline on the Facebook Web App

If you still log on to Facebook through a web browser, you’re in the minority. According to the company’s most recent set of statistics, almost 90 percent of its daily active users now access the network on mobile devices.

Perhaps that’s why Facebook seems to have neglected the chat aspect of the web app. Frankly, it’s confusing.

Despite the Messenger brand name being part of the Facebook lexicon since 2013, Facebook still hasn’t managed to create a unified experience for people using browsers. There’s Facebook Chat and Facebook Messenger.


The two apps link to the same set of messages in your inbox, but they have slightly different sets of options and work in slightly different ways.

One of the ways in which they differ is how to appear invisible.

Note: Appearing invisible on Facebook won’t affect your ability to interact with Messenger bots 12 Amazing Facebook Messenger Bots You Can Chat With Facebook Messenger has a ton of features most people barely use, or are perhaps not even aware of. One of the most impressive of these are "bots." Read More .

Appear Offline on Facebook Messenger

First, let’s look at how to appear offline on Facebook Messenger.


To go invisible, click the Messenger shortcut in the panel on the left-hand side of your screen. Alternatively, you can select the appropriate icon in the blue bar at the top of the Facebook home screen, then click on See all in Messenger.

Once you’re looking at your Messenger home screen, you need to locate the gear icon in the upper left-hand corner. Click on it and choose Settings.

facebook messenger active status toggle

A new window will pop up. Next, you need to locate the Active Status section and slide the toggle next to Show when you’re active into the Off position. Click on Done when you have finished.


Appear Offline on Facebook Chat

It’s also possible to become invisible on Facebook Chat by using the tools on the main homescreen.

Oddly, Facebook chat actually offers a more granular level of control over your visibility. It seems strange given it’s the only place across the entire social network where Facebook still uses the Chat brand name extensively.

The chat feature takes up the panel on the right-hand side of the screen. To go offline, click the gear icon in the very bottom right-hand corner (next to Search).

go offline on facebook chat


This is where you can get specific. You’ll see two important options you need to pay attention to: Turn Off Chat and Turn Off Video/Voice Calls. These are hopefully self-explanatory. You can disable one and leave the other enabled if you wish.

Interestingly, you can specify certain people for whom you want to appear online or offline. Click Turn Off Chat and a new window will pop up.

Selecting one of the bottom two options—Turn off chat for all contacts except or Turn off chat for some contacts only—lets you control who exactly can and cannot see you. Just type the people’s names into the box and click OK when you’re ready.

facebook chat turn off

Similarly, the Turn Off Video/Voice Calls option also offers extra levels of granularity. When you click on the link, you can choose to disable the feature for one hour, until 8AM the following day, or until you turn it back on manually.

facebook chat video off

Lastly, it’s also worth noting the Block Settings option. It lets you completely prevent certain people from contacting you. Just go to Block Settings > Block users to set it up.

block users in facebook chat

Appear Offline on the Facebook Windows Store Apps

Like on mobile, there are two versions of Facebook in the Windows Store; a basic Facebook app and a Messenger-specific app.

Ready to be confused? Good.

If you use the main Facebook app, you can only appear invisible using the Facebook Chat method I described above. There’s no way to access Messenger.

If you only use the Messenger app How to Use Messenger Without Facebook Using Messenger without a Facebook account or login is easy. The process just requires installing an app and configuring it. Read More (and perhaps don’t use Facebook at all), click on the People icon in the bottom right-hand corner, then select the Active tab at the top of the page. Slide the toggle next to your name to suit your preferences.

Appear Offline on the Facebook Android and iOS Apps

Although the Android and iOS Messenger apps still have some very minor design differences, the functionality of the two apps is almost identical. The process for making yourself invisible while chatting is the same on both platforms.

Once again, the process isn’t obvious if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s almost as if Facebook doesn’t want you to appear offline.

Fire up the app, and you’ll see a list of all your most recent chats. In either the top right-hand corner (on Android) or top left-hand corner (on iOS), you will see your profile photo. Tap on it.

Next, scroll down until you find a setting labeled Active Status and tap a second time. A new window will open. You can toggle your status on or off by using the slider accordingly.

Note: The process is different if you want to deactivate Facebook Messenger completely How to Deactivate Facebook Messenger Deactivating your Facebook account does NOT deactivate Facebook Messenger. Here's how to deactivate Facebook Messenger properly. Read More .

Do You Stay Invisible on Facebook Messenger?

Why does Facebook make it so difficult to appear offline while using its various chat-based products? It’s so complicated that very few users probably bother to make the changes.

Indeed, compare the process on Facebook to an app like Skype, which makes it easy to change your status, and it’s easy to conclude that Facebook has ulterior motives.

Did you know it was so hard to go offline on Facebook? Do you even use Facebook Messenger or are you too worried about how much Facebook knows about you What Does Facebook Know About You? Why You Should Delete Facebook What does Facebook really know about you? One thing's for sure: if you want online privacy, Facebook is best avoided. Read More ? Either way we hope you’ve learned something from this article. If you’re looking for more Facebook Messenger tips, take a look at this guide on what Facebook Messenger icons and symbols mean.

Image Credit: Patrick Foto/Shutterstock

Related topics: Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Online Chat, Online Privacy.

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  1. Beth
    May 2, 2018 at 4:17 pm


  2. Beth
    May 2, 2018 at 4:17 pm


  3. J
    May 2, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    You do all of that (turning chat off etc) and when you are on fb just scrolling through your news feed it says you were active 1min ago so people will think you were only just online. Wanting to turn chat off and be able to look on fb and it say active 1hr ago Or 2hr ago or how ever long it actually was you were online last before turning chat off. Im up very late some nights & always get asked why were you awake at 3-4am I saw you were active 2hrs ago or whatever. It's no-ones business and fb need to update this so we can fully turn our online status off and enjoy looking at our news feeds without showing up as active 1min ago if we choose to be hidden. If you can do this now then I wanna know how & if not the fb sort it tf out

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    April 23, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me
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  5. Fluffy
    April 20, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Well it did count when I'm not using the app. But when I do, it shows "1m" so it's still obvious you are or you were online.. Is there a way to just remove this?

  6. Merry Mom
    March 13, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    I used to be able to toggle the switch like this on my iPhone, but now I cannot. I am just going to delete the Messenger app because it appears that there is no way to be invisible anymore. I am really tired of people nagging me the second I try to check my messages. If you just try to check your one or two messages, then you get 10 more people pounce on you if they see that you’re active! Terrible design!

  7. Mast
    February 20, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    I did it trying to turn off the chat and am still appear active. My friend still sees me as active and it actually annoys me because random people keep chatting me.

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  10. Psych Student
    September 7, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Thank you for the helpful post on how to disable your online visibility on Facebook. I knew how to disable Chat on my desktop, but couldn't work out how to go offline on Messenger on my Samsung, since Facebook removed the feature where you could swipe to the right on your News Feed and go offline.

    With regard to your other comments - Facebook is extremely popular (this is fact) and (now, this bit is just my personal opinion but may be backed up in research) most people view Facebook in a positive light; it's easy to connect with and communicate with others; to pass the time as a distraction; to shop and find fun things to do...

    In social psychology there's a phenomenon known as the halo effect - this is also employed in sales, advertising, the business world. The halo effect is basically where if you see enough positive traits about a person/an event, this will lead you to feel positive feelings towards this person/event in other ways. For example, if your crush is really intelligent, and hot, you might be inclined to think they have a caring nature, too.

    Facebook knows this. Facebook knows that it has enough positive traits to outweigh the negative traits for most users, at least to the point of annoyance where people stop using the thing that Facebook wants them to use. This is where the power of persuasion comes in. Without writing an essay, Facebook doesn't want us to appear offline because one of its goals is worldwide connectivity, which cannot be attained if its users are appearing offline. If an individual doesn't appear as available to be interacted with so readily, people might be less likely to contact them in general - which could effect Facebook's success as a business.

    These are just my thoughts and opinions and thanks again for the helpful article. :)

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